stltoday.com
St. Louis arch
home news business sports entertainment shopping jobs autos realestate shopping neighborhoods
spacer
spacer [Friday, Aug. 22, 2003] spacer
spacer
Movies
spacer
ENTERTAINMENT SUBSECTIONS
stltoday MOVIES stltoday
stltoday DINING stltoday
stltoday MUSIC stltoday
stltoday BARS & CLUBS stltoday
stltoday VISUAL ARTS stltoday
stltoday STAGE stltoday
stltoday TV & RADIO stltoday
stltoday BOOKS stltoday
stltoday VISIT ST. LOUIS stltoday
stltoday COLUMNISTS stltoday
stltoday CASINOS & LOTTERY stltoday
stltoday SUBSCRIBE TO THE POST-DISPATCH stltoday
spacer
Ad Zone
spacer
INTERACT
CONTESTS
COUPONS
EVENT CALENDAR
FORUMS
MAPS & DIRECTIONS
PHOTO GALLERIES
SIGN UP FOR EMAIL ALERTS
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer Entertainment > Movies > Story spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
"Chicago" leads Oscar-winning releases




Chicago *** (PG-13; 1:56): If you're a fan of movie musicals with razzle dazzle and irreverence, the film adaptation of "Chicago" will knock your socks off. It was the 2002 Academy Award winner for Best Picture.

Although the heroine of this Jazz Age satire is a plucky hoofer with stars in her eyes, she's no angel. Chicago housewife Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) dreams of dancing in a speakeasy, but when her lover renegs on the promise of an audition, she plugs him.

In the slammer, she meets her idol, homicidal showgirl Velma Kelly (Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones). Velma has enlisted corrupt jailer Mama Morton (Queen Latifah) and slick lawyer Billy Flynn (Richard Gere) to wage a publicity campaign for her release. Mama advises Roxie to follow suit, and soon the mousy murderess is the toast of the town.

First-time filmmaker Rob Marshall employs a kinetic, over-edited style to mimic the rhythms of a Bob Fosse production, while staging the dance numbers as smoky, spotlighted fantasy sequences. Unlike last year's "Moulin Rouge," "Chicago" does not showcase opulent sets or a cinematic bag of tricks. Here the emphasis is on dancing.

Although Zellweger, Zeta-Jones and especially Gere would seem unlikely choices for a musical cast, dance aficionados will be impressed. With her chiseled limbs, blond bob and irresistible shimmy, the diminutive Zellweger is a killer kewpie.

In "All I Care About," Gere does a credible soft shoe, while in the showstopping "We Both Reached for the Gun," he makes a malevolent puppet master, literally dangling the press and his client on strings.
But among the leads, the leggy and athletic Zeta-Jones is the stand-out dancer as the dark, devious Velma.

Among the supporting cast, Latifah does a rousing imitation of Bessie Smith in "When You're Good to Mama," and John Reilly as Roxie's cockholded husband is a baggy-pants Pagliacci in the poignant "Mr. Cellophane."

The spirit of Fosse is resurrected in the sexy costumes and protegee Ann Reinking's hip-thrusting, high-kicking choreography. But whereas Fosse proved himself an incisive social critic with the movies "Cabaret" and "Lenny," the message of "Chicago" that fame is an intoxicant - seems dated. Yet without any cutting-edge insights, this would-be revisionist musical succeeds with the oldest trick in the book: the voodoo magic of dance. (Joe Williams)


Other new releases


All the Real Girls **** (R; 2:00): Zooey Deschanel and Paul Schneider star in writer-director David Gordon Green's beautifully realized tale of young love and all the things that can go wrong with it. Wonderful acting, eloquent screenplay, evocative direction. (Calvin Wilson)

Bowling for Columbine *** 1/2 (R; 2:00): Social crusader Michael Moore tackles American gun culture in this alternately hilarious and heartbreaking documentary. While the film features his usual skewed analysis and ambush interviews (most disturbingly with NRA spokesman Charlton Heston), it rings true when it suggests a connection between street crime and the federal government's history of using violence to resolve disputes. (The "South Park" guys provide a hilarious cartoon to illustrate the dark side of American history.) The film won last year's Oscar for Best Documentary Feature and galvanized the national debate. (Also new, from Warner Home Video, is a special edition of Moore's first documentary, "Roger and Me," a sardonically funny account of the director's failed attempts to interview the chairman of General Motors about auto-plant closures. This edition comes with a feature-length commentary by Moore.) (JW)

The Good Thief **** 1/2 (R; 1:48): In Neil Jordan's neon-saturated remake of "Bob le Flambeur," Nick Nolte gives a vivid performance as a burned-out gambler and heroin addict who plots the career-capping heist of a Monte Carlo casino. (JW)

The Kid Stays in the Picture **** (R; 1:33): In one of the best films of 2002, quintessential '70s movie producer Robert Evans puts a stylishly subjective spin on his own life story. Evans' hard-boiled narration is entertaining, but it's the retro look of the film and the quasi-animation technique of directors Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein that elevates this documentary to the realm of art. (JW)

Super Sucker (R; 1:35): Jeff Daniel directed and stars in this comedy about a door-to-door vacuum-cleaner salesman who teaches housewives a pleasurable new use for his product. (Not reviewed)

The Trials of Henry Kissinger *** 1/2 (NR; 1:20): This powerful documentary argues that the secret operations that Henry Kissinger authorized in Vietnam, Chile and Indonesia qualify the former secretary of state as a war criminal. Although it's clearly opinionated, the film gets much of its most damaging ammo from former Kissinger loyalists, who now regret the unnecessary blood- [JU]shed. (JW)



Top of page
E-mail this story E-mail this story to a friend
Printer friendly Printer friendly
Find more stories... Find more stories like this.
3 O'Clock Stir 3 O'Clock Stir e-mail alerts. Details here.


Subscribe to the Post-Dispatch Get the news delivered to your home for just 50 cents a day. Click here to subscribe to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


spacer spacer spacer
spacer YESTERDAY'S MOST
E-MAILED STORIES
spacer
spacer
spacer Sammy is psyched for St. Louis, Montrose reunion
spacer Woman standing on Boston train gives birth before shocked passengers
spacer Firms hail settlement of PCB litigation
spacer Cards lack cohesive attitude that marked 2002
spacer Gay advocate is convicted of sex with teenage boy
spacer Flightless but feisty
spacer Hot-dog heaven can be found at Woofie's
spacer DeWitt: Cards are prepared to add payroll
spacer Judge OKs trial in suit involving auto parts
spacer Pace keeps team in holding pattern
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
ad zone
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer